Fruit N Nut - 14:00 Sedgefield
Smart Stat: 26% - Brian Hughes's strike rate at Sedgefield
Brian Hughes tends to operate at a strike rate around the 19% mark but that increases to an excellent 26% at Sedgefield, the course where he has ridden more winners than at anywhere else. Hughes has a strong book of five rides this afternoon, including Fruit N Nut in the 17-furlong handicap hurdle. Fruit N Nut was well held at Kempton last time, but that was a much more competitive event than this and he looks fairly treated on the form of his hurdling debut success at Bangor last season.
Smart Stat: 4 - Willie Mullins' number of winners in the past nine runnings
Willie Mullins has won this maiden hurdle with some talented sorts, including The Nice Guy who followed up in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and also went on to land another Grade 1 at Punchestown. This time around Mullins is represented by Seabank Bistro who showed promise in bumpers last season, winning here on debut before finishing fourth in the championship event at Cheltenham, and he has made an encouraging start over hurdles. He has finished placed on both outings and was behind only a promising rival last time who has since won in good style, and he remains with potential over hurdles.
Shallow River - 16:10 Southwell
Smart Stat: 24% - Paddy Brennan's strike rate at Southwell
Paddy Brennan has an excellent record at Southwell - he operates at a strike rate around 24% compared to about 18% overall - and he will be hoping to enhance it aboard Shallow River in the concluding handicap hurdle. Shallow River, a winner on his hurdling debut at Huntingdon last season, had to settle for second on his handicap debut on his return at Wincanton last month but he shaped well behind a very progressive Irish raider and left the impression that he's on a handy mark.